To those of you who grew up in a kind, Christian home, you are truly blessed. What a gift your parents gave to you (it’s a gift I tried to give to my children). To those of us who did not, it can be much harder trying to find the path to Christ.
There are bumps in the road for all of us, of course, and I’ll bet there are countless stories out there from people who grew up in church-going families who faced untold horrors of their own. I guess the thing I was jealous of was the access to Pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc. who were available to answer questions.
I had none of that, and let me tell you that my path to Christ was so full of twists and turns and potholes that it’s a miracle I ever found my way to the beginning of the path at all!
In spite of my upbringing, I knew almost from birth that there was a God who cared about me. It’s a hard thing to explain, but for this shy, agoraphobic girl, I could just feel His presence next to me whispering in my ear. I didn’t know much about Him and I often ignored Him, but I was comforted by this unseen feeling of peace in the midst of chaos.
When I was entering my teens, I got the unshakable feeling that I was supposed to read the Bible from front to back. What?! But, that thought nagged at me until I finally dug a dusty old Bible out of the bookcase. An old Aunt had given it to my mom many years before and I don’t think it had been opened since.
Here is my adventure into cracking open my first Bible:
Pothole #1: I knew the Bible was God’s Holy book, so I figured that everyone in the Bible was awesome and everything they did was condoned by God. I thought it was a book of heroes, written so that we could emulate their behavior. I never knew that some of the passages were cautionary tales.
Let me tell you that reading with the mindset that everyone was a perfect hero made the Bible a very weird read! Some of the passages confused me so much that I wanted to quit reading altogether (Lot and his daughters come to mind!). What kind of book was this anyway?
I can laugh now about that little girl trying to find her way without any guides or road maps, but back then it was all very frustrating.
Pothole #2: That dusty old Bible was an old King James Version. It was like trying to read a book in a foreign language. Finally, a friend bought me “The Way”. I found it easier to read although I missed the beautiful old English style of writing (I eventually found my way to the NIV translation). Who knew that there were other translations? Wasn’t the Bible, the Bible? Didn’t you struggle your way through and hope you understood a word or two here and there?
Pothole #3: Everyone kept telling me that God was a God of love so I figured that he condoned all behavior. He loves us, right? Didn’t that mean we could do anything and everything and it was all ok?
I spent years doing whatever I wanted (and believing I had it all figured out). Having my own kids really opened my eyes. Have you ever been around kids who were raised without rules or guidelines? That path can lead children (and adults!) astray. Perhaps the most important job a parent has is to set rules in place and to warn their children about the things that can harm them. Of course God would set guidelines for our behavior as we would for our children. They’re not there to “cramp our style” but to allow us to flourish in safety.
I’ve come a long way from those days, but I am still a searching child. Almost daily, I thank God for his patience with me. How very frustrating it must be for him to watch me stumble my way down his path, tripping and falling, and running into walls.
I share a few of my potholes with you in case you too are struggling to figure out how to start getting to know God. He’s worth knowing and He’s well worth the effort you are making. And, no matter where you are in your journey, aren’t we so blessed to have a Father who forgives us when we get it wrong?
Where are you in your God journey? Are you on one? Is it frustrating, easy, confusing, amazing? We'd love to hear your story!